The silence had been broken by faint human moans. I followed the sound to a partly covered body making slight leg movements. Carefully lifting the tarp from the body laying face down in the snow, I knelt down to further examine it. She was clothed in a black taffeta half slip, bra, and torn pantyhose and might have been a hooker who stole from her pimp. After rolling her over, a chill went down my spine. I was looking at the face of Margaret’s son, Sean.
I struggled to get him to his feet, and then carried him to my car. With the heat turned to full warm thoughts of what to do next filled me. When we arrived at my apartment building it took all of my now depleted strength to carry him up the four flights of steps to the apartment and to place him on my bed.
I slowly began to undress him. With my Dutch oven filled with warm water, I began to wipe his face and body with a washrag. Track marks were on his right arm, but no other forms of physical harm could be detected.
He fell into and out of consciousness as I bathed him. In anticipation of him awakening, I warmed a can of chicken broth for him to at least attempt to sip.
With the little first aid training I possessed, it appeared that the drugs hadn’t overly affected his breathing and heart rate. While half watching his condition, I telephoned the Collins’s mansion.
“Collins’s residence. May I help you,” Chambers’s voice echoed.
“Chambers, it’s Dan Hudson,” I said trying not to sound anxious or excited. “May I speak with Ms. Collins?”
“Ms. Collins and the family are in the midst of dinner,” his frosty voice answered.
“It’s rather important. Could you interrupt? I’ll not take too much of her time.”
While waiting for Margaret to pick up the telephone my complete attention focused on the now awake, but groggy Sean.
“What could you possibly want Dan?”
“Sean is here in my apartment.”
“Sean? Why is. . . ?”
“I found him partly covered with a tarp in Nichols Park.”
“What! I’ll. . . .”
“Some one shot him up with drugs. He’s barely awake now, but I’m not sure for how much longer.”
“I’ll be right over.”
“If you know a friendly doctor, bring him along.”
Just hearing her voice took me back, despite the circumstances. “…and she keeps calling me back again….”
As I hung up the telephone’s receiver, Sean tried to rise from my bed.
“Hold on buddy, you’re not fit to move just yet.”
“Where am I?” he asked in panic.
“Remember me?” I whispered. “Dan Hudson. You’re in my apartment. I found you in the park.”
He laid back down, too weak to struggle or sit up.
“Have some soup,” I said still whispering. “It’ll help to warm you up. Be careful, it’s hot.”
I spoon-fed him some of the soup before he gagged.
“Can you take some more?”
He shook his head.
“How did you end up in Nichols Park; and why were you wearing women’s undergarments?”
He turned his head away from me as tears formed. I re-arranged his blankets, and then left him to have his cry.
I took a chair from my kitchen, placed it next to the bed, and then took a seat closer to him to better observe his condition. He’d stopped fading in and out of consciousness so any immediate danger had passed, but he continued to cry. Not uncontrollable sobs – quiet, barely audible moans.
Between the time I called and when Margaret knocked at the door, it had grown dark. I switched on the kitchen light, unlocked the apartment door, and then let my guests enter.
She burst through the door.
“Where is he?”
“In there,” I mumbled, motioning to the bedroom.
She stood over her son for a moment and then took a seat in the chair that I’d placed next to the bed. She picked up his hand, kissed it, and then held it to her forehead. Tears flowed uncontrollably.
“Dr. Helen Vickers,” Margaret’s companion said extending a hand while examining my manner of dress. “You were at the Collins’s for Thanksgiving Dinner, weren’t you?”
“I found him while walking through the park earlier today,” I said ignoring her loaded question. “The only physical marks on his body had been some track marks. I fed him some broth and….”
“Let me take a look. I’m Margaret’s therapist as well as her doctor.”
I stepped aside as she entered the room. She sent Margaret out to join me in the kitchen while she examined Sean.
“Care for some tea?” I asked as she threw herself down on one of the kitchen chairs.
“He told me that he and Jason went skiing.”
“I thought about bringing him to a hospital, but thought better of it.”
“You did the right thing.”
“You can leave him here until he’s strong enough to be moved. He’s in pretty bad shape.”
I tried to relax her a bit by massaging her shoulders and neck. Both were tense.
“I’m not sure what he’s taken without a blood test,” Dr. Vickers said re-entering the kitchen. “I’ll call my assistant to bring over some instruments to draw blood. In the meantime, I think that it’s best to leave him here.”
The doctor went back in the bedroom to further tend to Sean while Margaret and I sipped tea.
“How much has he been able to tell you?” I asked.
“Nothing,” she sobbed. “He’s asleep.”
“I found him wearing these,” I said while handing her the slip, bra, and torn pantyhose.
She dropped her head and once again began an uncontrollable cry.
The doctor’s assistant arrived and joined the doctor in the bedroom. After drawing four vials of blood, a swab of urine and a sample from his rectum, the assistant left.
“I should have an idea of what he took by early tomorrow afternoon. In the meantime we’ll monitor his condition,” Dr. Vickers said.
We three took turns sitting by his side and wiping perspiration from his body. When Margaret took her turn, Dr. Vickers joined me at my kitchen table for cup with tea.
“At what age did you start cross-dressing?” she asked.
“Quite frankly it’s none of your business,” I huffed. “The patient is in the other room and not at this table.”
“I’m not trying to treat or understand you, but Margaret showed me what he’d been wearing when you found him.”
“I doubt that there might be any similarities between him and me. Don’t you think that you’re jumping the gun? We should let Sean tell us what happened before you start thinking of a manner of treatment.”
Sean had a restless night and the three of us took turns taking whore showers to freshen up until the light of dawn shown through my kitchen window. A knock at the door announced the arrival of Jason.
“Where’s Sean,” he shouted as he entered the room.
“He’s in there,” I said gesturing to the bedroom.
He slowly approached the room and entered. I watched as he greeted his mom with a kiss. He looked down at his sleeping brother and started to cry.
“Mom,” he said through tears and sobs. “We lied. We didn’t want to ski. We wanted to hang out with friends.”
The room grew silent. I watched from the kitchen with Dr. Vickers as a mother and brother quietly tried to cope with the situation that lay before them.
“He appears stable so I’ll be leaving,” Dr. Vickers said. “We’ll know more when we receive the test results. In the meantime, give him these when he awakens. They’ll aid in what appears to be withdrawal.”
She handed me a package of tablets.
“Take my car,” Margaret said as she handed her keys to Dr. Vickers, leaving Jason in the bedroom with his brother. “I’ll not be needing it.”
Margaret tended the sleeping Sean while Jason joined me at the kitchen table.
“Can you show me where you found him?” Jason asked.
“Perhaps later. Let’s make sure that Sean is resting quietly before we go wandering around.”
We joined his mother in the bedroom as Sean began to stir.
“Hey you three. What’s going on?” he asked through the haze of legal and illegal drugs and sleep.
“How are you feeling?” I asked.
Margaret tried to speak, but couldn’t form words through her tears. Jason stood motionless.
“Would you mind if I spoke to him alone?” I asked.
She nodded and left the room with Jason in tow as I took a seat in the chair close to the bed.
“She’s a bit un-done by what’s happened. When you’re ready, we’ll talk, okay.”
While waiting for him to speak, I wiped his brow with a damp cloth from the oft-replenished Dutch oven, and then re-arranging the blankets and comforter.
“We were supposed to be skiing at the vacation house,” he said with hoarse tones. “We stayed behind and spent Christmas week at my roommate’s house. We’d been partying, drinking beer, smoking some pot, and doing a little coke. We went to his friend’s place to party and get more stuff. I was pretty wasted when this girl asked me if I really want to fly. I said okay, and then she took out this stuff and a syringe. She put a candle under some aluminum foil, put some liquid in the syringe, whacked on the vein in my arm, and then injected me. I got all warm and just laid there. I woke up a bit and asked for more.”
“How long did this go on?”
“I don’t know,” he struggled. “Couple of days maybe. It could have been all week.”
I gently lifted his right arm and attempted to count the needle marks. I counted four including the one that caused the bruise.
“How did you end up in the park and how did you end up wearing women’s lingerie?” I carefully asked.
“I don’t remember.”
He turned away and fell silent.
“We’ll talk some more when you feel up to it.”
I wiped his brow, tended to his blankets, and then left the room.
I re-joined his mother and brother who’d been seated in the kitchen and informed them about the partying. She bowed her head, and then composed herself.
Margaret placed her hand under Jason’s chin and lifted his head to look in his eyes and asked, “Did you know that Sean drank and took drugs?”
“Yes Mom,” he muttered. “We both drink and take drugs. We stayed in town with his roommate to party at some guy’s apartment with him and his girlfriend.”
“Who’s Sean’s roommate?” Margaret asked while taking hold of his hand. “Do you mean Andy?”
“No, Andy’s out of town. I don’t know this one. He just started at the school. His first day was after the Thanksgiving recess. I met him when we went to his house.”
Margaret buckled at the knees and collapsed onto the floor. I helped her to her feet, and then back into the chair.
“Margaret,” I said lifting her chin with my hand. “It’s not your fault. Kids experiment. This could have happened at the vacation house. For that matter, it could have happened in his bedroom at the mansion, or in the garage. It’s in their nature to try things.”
“I hope that he’s not addicted,” she sobbed.
“The junk will be out of his system in three or four days,” I cautioned. “That’s the easy part. If he’s become psychologically addicted the three of you will have a long road to travel.”
She began uncontrollable sobs. Jason and I did our best to comfort her, but to no avail. The parental demons that lurked within her would be beyond our expertise.